Beloved Locksmith and Practical Joker Dies at 83

beloved-locksmith-and-practical-joker-dies-at-83After decades of cracking codes and cracking jokes, Phil “Drill Bits” Hobbs died in his hometown of Meriden. He dedicated his life to picking locks, making people smile, and teaching them about religion, having started Phil’s Lockshop and joining the First Assembly of God.

Born in the town of Maine, he went to Farmington High School and broke the state’s pole vault record, maintaining his status for over a decade. He wasn’t limited to just track and field, however, playing football and softball before eventually serving in the army. Post-war, Hobbs finally turned his focus to locksmithing.

Hobbs opened many a vault during his lifetime, including a notoriously tricky one dubbed the Mosler Monster in a loan services location. When he wasn’t dealing with locks, he enjoyed using humourous devices like false needles, jumpscare pop-up books, and coins nailed to the floor that confused unsuspecting victims.

Additionally, Hobbs began a Royal Rangers program for boys of the Assembly of God churches, reaching out to all corners of Southern New England. He had many roles with the church, and even helped construct the building upon his arrival to the city.

Phil Hobbs is survived by his wife Barbara, along with their children and grandchildren. The Hobbs family has maintained ownership of Phil’s Lockshop, and are still running the store today.



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